Ikkyu – Self-Appraisal


Ikkyu – Self-Appraisal


Rinzai’s descendants do not know Zen.

In front of Crazy Cloud, who dares to explain Zen?

For thirty years, on my shoulders I have carried

The weight of Shogen’s Red Thread Zen.

Accompanying Calligraphy

I am teaching you the gateway to essential Zen. Zen is endlessly discussed with empty phrases and pretentious words; all that effort goes on and on missing the mark…

Former Abbot of Murasakino Daitoku Zen Temple, Jun Ikkyu, world’s number one venerable priest.



The One True Taste of Tea – Rikyu


I share a sip of tea together with the spring wind and 10,000 peaks;

Then with my arms folded in my sleeves I contently stroll along the riverbank.


The One True Taste of Tea – Sen No Rikyu

ZenArtExperience.com - Rikyu


Sen No Rikyu (1522 – April 21, 1591) based his calligraphy on the original two verses from a poem by Kaiseki (Chieh-shih), a Zen Master of the late Sung. The complete original poem goes:

Continue reading



Namu Amida Butsu

Namo Amida Butso, by Shinran, (May 21, 1173 – January 16, 1263)

Founder of Jōdo Shinshū Pure Land sect of Buddhism.


Tea Bowl by Onisaburo

God and man in harmony

With boundless compassion

Form an irresistible power.

Composed by Oni


Chawan by Onisaburo

Onisaburo Deguchi, 1871-1948, teacher of aikido founder, Morihei Ueshiba.


Chawan by Onisaburo



Onisaburo Chawan Hakogaki

Kannon by Junkyo

Kannon by Junkyo, the 20th century nun who had her arms sliced off by a mad man when she was 17 . The inscription is one of our favorites, “Every day is a good day.” Signed, “Painted without hands by Junkyo.”

junkyo kannon scroll

Kannon by Junkyo

junkyo kannon

Kannon by Junkyo

And here’s a portrait of the artist:


The Artist, Junkyo

Jiun – Every Day is a Good Day

Jiun Sonja (1718-1804): “Every Day is a Good Day” is from the famous Zen Koan by 10th century master Unmon. Unmon said: “I do not ask you about fifteen days ago. But what about fifteen days hence? Come, say a word about this!” Since none of the monks answered, he answered for them: “Every day is a good day.”

Jiun - Every Day is a Good Day

Jiun – Every Day is a Good Day


This monk has passed through the narrowest mountain paths to reach the northernmost seas,
and also has the experience of crawling  through the lowest valleys.
If you want to find a safe place to pass your life,
Sit on the top shelf like a puppet!

Ikkyu - ZenArtExperience.com


Wild Duck by Li Shan

My painting finally came. It is wild…….a duck smashing into water his feathers flying , to the right, to the left….every which way. If you look at it quickly , you miss it……perfect composition, the still point (his eye) in the midst of flurry. It is totally alive.

Li Shan - ZenArtExperience.com

Wild Duck by Li Shan

One thing is for sure, the painter Li Shan was a genius. The painting itself is about 2 feet high by 2 1/2 feet long. It’s a monumental piece….needs lots of empty space around it.

Continue reading

Ichi by Ishikawa Jozan

Jozan - ZenArtExperience.com

Ichi (One) by Ishikawa Jozan

Ishikawa Jozan, best known for the creation of the beautiful garden villa of Shisendo outside Kyoto, was also a master of calligraphy, among other things. He is mentioned in Hakuin’s autobiography Wild Ivy as a student of the Taoist who taught Hakuin a powerful method of healing.


One by Ishikawa Jozan

Sawaki Kodo

Who says my mind is like the autumn moon?

Sawaki Kodo - ZenArtExperience.com

Enso by Sawaki Kodo

Notes: This Sawaki Kodo Enso is masterful. I opened it and put it on the wall……welcoming its spirit with incense and fell right into meditation. It’s one of those pieces having seen, you feel happy you are  collecting pieces. A real zen masterpiece…

Zenga: Living Zen

Not One Thing - ZenArtExperience

Not One Thing – Soen


Master Nakagawa Soen

Enso. A circle reveals its own meaning…
Perfection, completeness, a roundness of form.
It also delineates inside from outside, and binds space
within its boundaries, where opposites can play
…and life can find a meaning.

Continue reading